10% Miles Refund For Citi Cardholders on American Awards

Aug 23, 2012

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Though the current public sign-up bonus for the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa Signature is just 30,000 miles, there are still offers out there where you can get both the Citi AAdvantage Visa and the Citi AAdvantage Amex cards with 50,000-mile sign-up bonuses each for a total of 100,000 bonus American miles when you spend $3,000 on each within 4 months – and you can get both at the same time using the two-browser trick.

The bonuses are great, but there’s another valuable benefit to carrying them that could potentially save you thousands of airline miles: cardholders earn 10% of their redeemed AAdvantage miles back  up to 10,000 AAdvantage miles each calendar year.

I conservatively value American miles at about 1.8 cents each because my redemptions tend to be for long-haul international premium class tickets, so if you were to get the full 10,000 miles refunded each year, that would be about $180 in value, more than enough to make up for the annual fees on these cards.

Here are specific terms of this benefit taken from the application page for the Citi Platinum Select Visa: For benefit to apply, your Citi® / AAdvantage® account must be open and active at the time of redemption. The American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles you earn through this benefit will be based on 10% of the total AAdvantage® miles you redeem each month during the calendar year. The maximum number of AAdvantage® bonus miles you can earn annually from this benefit is 10,000 AAdvantage® bonus miles per calendar year, regardless of how many AAdvantage® miles you redeem in that calendar year. This benefit only applies to AAdvantage® miles redeemed from the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage® account. Discover all the ways to redeem AAdvantage® miles at www.aa.com/redeem. Please allow 6-8 weeks after your redemption for the American Airlines AAdvantage® bonus miles to post to the primary cardmember’s AAdvantage® account.

I carry the Citi Platinum Select AAdvantage Visa myself, and I redeemed 100,000 American miles on a British Airways award ticket earlier this summer, so I was curious to see if I would actually get my refund, and how long it would take. Sure enough,when I checked my AAdvantage account a few days later, I found that 10,000 miles had been redeposited into my account, bringing my award ticket down to 90,000 miles.

You don’t even have to use the card to pay the fees or anything else to get this 10% refund. You just have to be a cardholder with your AAdvantage account and credit card account in good standing.

When you also factor in that American and Citi also offer reduced-price awards for Citi AA cardholders on flights within the US and Canada originating within the 48 contiguous United States – like 17,500 mile economy and 42,500 first class roundtrip awards to select quarterly rotating cities – you could also be saving an additional 7,500 AAdvantage miles (though you do have to pay a $25 booking fee to redeem these over the phone).

So let’s say you booked two roundtrip domestic flights in first class for 100,000 miles total. You’d actually need just 85,000 miles thanks to the reduced-priced awards, saving you 15,000 miles, plus you’d get another 8,500 back for a total savings of 23,500 miles – almost enough for another reduced-price roundtrip economy ticket.

Even if you didn’t score the 50,000-mile bonuses on the Visa and Amex, but still carry a Citi AAdvantage credit card, if you have some big mileage redemptions in mind, you can maximize your American miles by taking  advantage not only of your card’s reduced-price awards levels as well as its 10% miles refund on award tickets.

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